At last minute of Wednesday, a Istanbul tribunal has decreed provisional freedom for 8 Turkish activists in case of Buyukada, including Amnesty International's director Turkey, Idil Eser. After a session of more than 12 hours, almost all defendants who remained in pre-trial detention have been released. The only one who will remain detained is Taner Kiliç, president of AI Turkey, who faces anor judicial process in Izmir where view will be held this Thursday. Anor 2 of accused, Seyhmus Ozbekli and Nejat Tasten, had been released before this Wednesday.Learn More
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"This is exactly what we expected today," said Andrew Gardner, AI researcher, at exit of Palace of Justice. "And it gives us hope to think that y will finally be acquitted of all charges." Workers from processed NGOs, except Ozlem Dalkiran of Citizens Assembly organization, will receive ir passports and may travel outside country as summary continues which will allow Peter Stdeutner and Ali Gharavi to fly to ir respective countries (Germany and Sweden). Hours before decision, Prosecutor requested release of all defendants less Veli ACU from United Nations Food Programme (WFP). The trial will resume on November 22nd.
The police cordoned square where tribunal stands, in which members of different NGOs read a manifesto to demand release of ir companions. Both foreign journalists and consular staff from European countries attended call, as one of defendants is of German nationality (Peter Steudtner) and anor Iranian-Swedish (Ali Gharavi). The view began late due to limited capacity of room and large attendance of public, proof of great expectation that had aroused first session of most paradigmatic trial against human rights organizations in Turkey.
At beginning of session, he defended his innocence Ozlem Dalkiran, a member of NGO Assembly of Citizens (HYD, in its Turkish acronym). The proof of crime he is accused of are conversations he maintained with individuals prosecuted for belonging to Brorhood of cleric Fetulá Gülen — whom Ankara accuses of being behind failed coup — as well as organizing non-citizen councils — a movement of Opposition following April constitutional referendum —.Denunciation of a particular
In se conversations, teachers were mentioned on hunger strike Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, imprisoned for ir membership of leftist armed group DHKP-C. Most of indictments follow same pattern, having maintained contact with defendants for terrorism. After Dalkiran, y defended ir innocence Peter Steudtner, Ilknur Ustun, Idil Eser, Ali Gharavi, Gunal Kursun and Nalan Erkem.
"The 10 of Istanbul" (as press has dubbed it without telling Taner Kiliç, whose case was later added) held a workshop on digital security organized by a joint initiative, common Platform for Human rights (IHOP, in its Turkish acronym). The meeting took place in a hotel on island of Buyukada, in south of Istanbul, in early July. A "secret witness", translator of event or anor guest of hotel, notified police. According to indictment, he denounced a clandestine meeting in which classes were taught to protect and encrypt "information on phones in case y were seized by police."
"As Amnesty International, we speak with citizens about sensitive issues, affecting m or ir families, and this information is confidential," said Andrew Gardner, researcher at AI Turkey, at entrance of tribunal. "It is our duty to keep in secret what we are told," he concluded to defend treaty in workshop of Buyukada. Gardner believes that arrests are a direct blow to work that Amnesty International develops in Turkey, as some charges that are imputed to Idil Eser refer to campaigns prior to 2016, when she began working for institution.